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Bow Dome

written by Rene K. Mueller, Copyright (c) 2006, 2007, last updated Sat, May 24, 2014

Bow Dome Model

One of the aims I had was also to build a couple of models to see how things are working, including a rain cover.


Bow Dome Model using bent bamboo split

Bow Dome Model with Rain Cover

Here the way I did it:

The Skeleton

I used 40cm long 4mm diameter bamboo split, and put them into 70-80°C hot water for 10 minutes, then I bent them and used a facility to keep them bent while drying at the sun. After 2-3 hours they dried and then remained in that bent.


Bamboo split (4mm diameter), straight, and bent (using hot water)
2006/04/04 12:14
 
PVC plastic tube as junction provider
2006/04/04 13:56
 
Using a cord to specify the distance between the bows: pointy dome
2006/04/04 14:27
 
Pointy Dome Model
2006/04/04 14:30
 

2006/04/04 14:31
 
2006/04/04 14:31
 

I increased the spacing between the bows, from 13cm to 16cm, means from a "pointy bow dome" to a "3/8 sphere bow dome":


3/8 Sphere Bow Dome (approximately)
2006/04/07 09:05
 
2006/04/07 09:06
 
2006/04/07 09:06
 
2006/04/07 09:06
 

2006/04/07 09:06
 

Later I extended the bow dome with additional rings to improve stability:


Adding a base
2006/04/17 08:32
 
Bow Dome with base & cover
2006/04/17 08:34
 
Extended Bow Dome
2006/04/17 09:15
 
Extended Bow Dome, top view
2006/04/17 09:16
 

Extended Bow Dome & Cover
2006/04/17 09:44
 
Extended Bow Dome (2)
2006/04/17 14:10
 
Extended Bow Dome, Detail (1)
2006/04/17 14:10
 
Extended Bow Dome, Detail (2)
2006/04/17 14:10
 

Extended Bow Dome, Detail (3)
2006/04/17 14:10
 
Extended Bow Dome, Detail (4)
2006/04/17 14:10
 
Extended Bow Dome, Detail (5)
2006/04/17 14:10
 
Extended Bow Dome, Detail (6)
2006/04/17 14:11
 

The Rain Cover

As next I did the rain cover, since I used natural material where the bending was defined by its elasticity I had to take the radius of each 5cm of the bent bow, and calculate the width (c/12) since I used 12 leafs, the same amount as I have bows. So here the styp-by-step:


Getting the bow graph (1)
2006/04/07 12:26
 
Getting the bow graph (2)
2006/04/07 12:27
 
All the numbers: the height of the leaf, w, c, c/6, and c/12
2006/04/07 12:27
 
2006/04/07 12:28
 

Left-overs from yurt rain cover, polyethylen (PE)
2006/04/07 12:34
 
Marked and cut one side of the master leaf, added space for sewing the seam
2006/04/07 12:41
 
Folding
2006/04/07 12:43
 
The master leaf
2006/04/07 12:45
 

Marking the other leafs
2006/04/07 12:45
 
All the way ...
2006/04/07 12:54
 
All cut leafs
2006/04/07 13:03
 


Sewing the leafs
2006/04/11 10:29
 
First two leafs sewing, using one-fold seam
2006/04/11 10:35
 
Further sewing the leafs together
2006/04/11 10:55
 
Last seam: first and last leaf together
2006/04/11 10:59
 

Finished rain cover for the model
2006/04/11 11:04
 
Closeup (1)
2006/04/11 11:04
 
Closeup (2)
2006/04/11 11:05
 
Top view
2006/04/11 11:05
 

Rain cover over bow dome model
2006/04/11 14:02
 
Sight from inside (1)
2006/04/11 14:01
 
Sight from inside (2)
2006/04/11 14:01
 
Sight from inside (3)
2006/04/11 14:03
 

Extended Bow Dome, inside
2006/04/17 09:45
 

For real life applications following is to be considered:

  • crown wheel where the bows are put in
  • separate cover for the crown wheel, ability to lift it so hot air can leave the dome (like skylight cover for a yurt)
  • cut out a entry or door in the rain canvas (and thermal insulation if there is any), and use a blanket like for a tipi to cover the entry, e.g. use "klett" or so to fix the door blanket
  • rain canvas needs to fixated on the ground, so some cord-base handles should be sewed on the rain cover too at the bottom around

Crownless Bow Dome


Crownless Bow Dome
As I briefly mentioned on the previous page I had the idea to make a crownless yurt, laying the poles over each other in order to have no crown holding the roof poles but the roof poles providing to each other the static.

Here my first attempt, for now I did a bow dome this way, step by step:


Lining up the roof sticks/poles, laying poles over each other and tied
2006/05/06 16:26
 
Closeup of the laying over of the roof sticks/poles
2006/05/06 16:26
 
Closing the circle
2006/05/06 16:26
 
Closed the circle
2006/05/06 16:26
 

Overview
2006/05/06 16:27
 
Closeup (1)
2006/05/06 16:27
 
Closeup (2)
2006/05/06 16:27
 
Closeup (3)
2006/05/06 16:27
 

Connecting the base
2006/05/06 16:34
 
All sticks/poles connected
2006/05/06 16:50
 
Crownless Bow Dome (1)
2006/05/06 16:50
 
Crownless Bow Dome (2)
2006/05/06 16:50
 

Crownless Bow Dome (3)
2006/05/06 16:51
 
Crownless Bow Dome (4)
2006/05/06 16:52
 
Crownless Bow Dome (5)
2006/05/06 16:52
 
Crownless Bow Dome (6)
2006/05/06 16:52
 

Crownless Bow Dome (7)
2006/05/06 16:53
 
Crownless Bow Dome (8)
2006/05/06 16:53
 
Crownless Bow Dome (9)
2006/05/06 16:53
 

The roof poles bend nicely vertically into the crown. I haven't tested the stability of this construction, I just noted that the tying of the roof poles at the top to each other is crucial not to move for a full sized bow dome, e.g. wax cord might be useable, or drill hole to pull the binding cord through it. Bamboo as roof poles in this case is not suitable, as much pressure on the outer surface of the pole occurs, where bamboo will simply splitter.

Would I use double length bow in this case, I would have a 12x2 bow dome, which I will try with another model, in that case the static would improve and also a good alignment for a triangular door.

Willow Bow Dome


Willow Bow Dome Model
Here a quick bow dome (wigwam styled finish) I did with my friend Melanie during an afternoon. First we planned to do a model but the willow sticks were longer, yet, not long enough to make a real shelter. So we ended up with a very small wigwam skeleton.


Willow cuts
2006/03/26 11:29
 
Willow sticks
2006/03/26 12:03
 
Marked length
2006/03/26 12:20
 
Laying out all sticks
2006/03/26 12:20
 

Tying two sticks together, weaker / narrowing ends pointing to each other
2006/03/26 12:22
 
Finished double-sticks
2006/03/26 12:42
 
Laying them star-like (without crown-wheel)
2006/03/26 12:47
 
All layed out (10 pairs, 20 ends)
2006/03/26 12:51
 

Tying the center crossing
2006/03/26 12:53
 
Detail of center crossing
2006/03/26 12:53
 
2006/03/26 12:53
 
Melanie pushing the tied bows up
2006/03/26 12:54
 

Deciding how high we want to have it
2006/03/26 12:54
 
2006/03/26 13:06
 
Pushing the ends into the ground
2006/03/26 13:06
 
2006/03/26 14:32
 

Waving other willow sticks between the bows
2006/03/26 14:42
 
Finished bow dome with wigwam-like interwoven willow sticks
2006/03/26 15:07
 
Front view with entry
2006/03/26 15:07
 

Unfortunatly, a few days later we got heavy snow and it pushed the entire construction down to the ground, and since the willow sticks were not fresh some of them broke and the structure was not useable again to make a straw roof as I planned in order to excercise and learn how to make straw roofs.

On the Misc Domes page you find more dome models I did, which eventually will be be featured in more depth later.

Dome in Fessenheim

On one of my recumbent trips I spotted this dome, it was a public bath in Fessenheim (Alsace, France) - I was able to access and photograph it, and the bath attendant gave me a short tour:


Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:12
 
Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:13
 
Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:13
 
Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:13
 

Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:14
 
Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:19
 
Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:19
 
Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:19
 

Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:22
 
Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:22
 
Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:22
 
Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:22
 

Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:27
 
Dome (public bath), Fessenheim (France)
2008/07/25 12:27
 

It's about 35m in diameter, the bows are steel construction - built in 1995 and the steel bows already began rust. They added a steel U to add more stability for the dome as you can see on one of the photos. Such domes are no longer made in France I was told, but over 700 were built through entire France. The dome has no good insulation and therefore a lot of energy usage in the winter time, also when the dome is closed the sound distribution isn't good and it's very noisy as it's common problem in dome constructions.

Miscellaneaus Bow Domes

Here more domes I discovered while traveling. A tent-like approach, unfortunately I couldn't make photos from the side as the door was locked and nobody around to ask to open it:


Dome, Hasle bei Burgdorf (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome, Hasle bei Burgdorf (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome, Hasle bei Burgdorf (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome, Hasle bei Burgdorf (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 

Dome, Hasle bei Burgdorf (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome, Hasle bei Burgdorf (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome, Hasle bei Burgdorf (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome, Hasle bei Burgdorf (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 

Dome, Hasle bei Burgdorf (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome, Hasle bei Burgdorf (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome, Hasle bei Burgdorf (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 

Dome cluster, likely with cement, a rest room for a tennis court:


Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 

Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 

Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 

Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 
Dome cluster, Mumenthal (Switzerland)
2008/09/05 10:02
 

Links

  • Germany: Archadome.de , sells & rents bow domes, without thermal insulation
  • Switzerland: Archadom.ch , dito
  • Austria: Domhaus.at , bow domes with wood, including thermal insulation
  • Germany: DerTon.de , bow domes with wood, for full year habitat and seminar room


(End of Article)

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